High System Requirements

"But it says Nvidia on it :("

Test Computer Specifications
Processor: Intel Core i5 2430M @ 2.4 GHz
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M, 1gb DDR3 VRAM
RAM: 6gb DDR3

The "Low Performance" category is reserved for games that require a higher standard of hardware but can still somehow run on laptops. This is a category meant for people who bought multimedia laptops or were sucker enough to invest in a gaming laptop. This will be an odd category as it is hard to discern how much you can squeeze out of any given higher-end mobile system (re: Asus A53SV has an i5 and a GT 540m) or low-end desktop (think Intel 22nm Core i3/Corresponding AMD processor + Budget Graphics Card) since random compatability issues can occur depending on how your laptop handles graphics options or the age of certain parts in your toaster desktop system. I decided to err on the side of caution and try to stay away from very modern games in this category unless the testing I've done proves that the game in question is viable. Even so, tread lightly when reading this section and always make sure that you keep your own toaster specifications in the forefront of your mind.

Supergiant Software's first success and one of the first indie games with global positive reception following the start of the "indie" fad, Bastion is a game that balances story and gameplay much like Deus Ex and Planescape Torment. It doesn't have as much detail put into it, as the game prefers narration alongside gameplay rather than pure exposition, but it is a wonderful experience regardless. Perfect for an on-the-go experience but with enough extra gameplay to warrant another playthrough or two.

Bastion can be purchased on Steam.

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is the atypical WWII shooter. Instead of putting the player into the action as a lone wolf, RtH30 places the player in the role of squad leader, where the squad is the player's main weapon for winning battles over pure combat. Arcade gameplay with a hint of realism. Runs on a lot of systems without trouble.

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 can be purchased on Steam

I don't like when people call Binding of Issac a roguelike or even a "roguelite" because it honestly isn't any of those. It's more of a bullet hell dungeon crawler, and that's what has made it so addicting; you just can't resist going "one more game" after your defeat. I put BoI in low performance because I tried it on both my netbook and Thinkpad, and it had bizzarely poor performance. My regular laptop runs it fine, so you might need some modern budget hardware on tap for Binding of Issac, especially for Rebirth.

The Binding of Issac series (Binding of Issac, the Wrath of the Lamb DLC, and Rebirth + Afterbirth) are available on Steam

Has the distinction of being one of the only games based on a movie that doesn't suck. In fact, Chronicles of Riddick might have not been really accepted as a movie, but it had an incredibly superior reception as a video game. Lots of visceral and exciting gameplay elements.

The Chronicles of Riddick games can be purchased on Good old Games.

If you play Far Cry 1 and have played Crysis before, you'll immediately realize the Crytek logos at the start of the game. Far Cry 1 was the first flexing of Crytek's unparalleled engine that dominated the graphics scene for close to a decade (perhaps longer, if current design trends keep going the way they're going). Also like Crysis, there's actually a lot of uniqe and insane free-roam gameplay with an incredible amount of gunplay. Definintely not something that should be attempted on a Thinkpad, but old enough for a multimedia laptop to tackle it with ease.

Far Cry 1 can be purchased on Steam and Good old Games.

FEAR is one of the modern classics of FPS games. Combining stellar AI scripting with a variety of weapon groups, incredible attention to graphical detail, and a light sci-fi horror twist, FEAR hits a lot of high points in design and overall gameplay. If you haven't played it before, have nothing to do, and you're stuck on a toaster that can play it, play it.

FEAR is available for purchase on Steam and Good old Games.

Youze a busta. Rep yo hood in San Andreas with the PC port. Home to an extensive mod scene that can keep gameplay fresh for a long while. Even has its own crazy multiplayer Players vs Zombies mod. Not a whole lot to say about San Andreas that hasn't already been said before.

Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas can be purchased on Steam.

An odd and unique spin on the JRPG formula. Players are tasked with speedrunning through an area and defeating the boss in 30 seconds with assistance from the Time Goddess. A particularly light-hearted game that gets its kicks from poking fun at JRPG tropes while having a lot of content for its price point.

The Half Minute Hero series can be purchased on Steam. You can purchase it on Playism, but it's a Steam-only game due to leaderboard storage via Steamworks, which means you'll get a Steam key.

While not as wild and expansive as its sequel, Just Cause 1 has a lot of the wild gameplay that people grew accustomed to in the sequel. In contrast to another sandbox game, San Andreas makes your goal to restore proper ownership of Los Santos to Grove Street, while Just Cause makes your goal to fuck as much shit up as possible to pave way for a revolution against the corrupt local government.

Kill cops and military to your heart's content and fill the locals with the revolutionary spirit. The Steam review page suffers from a "Mixed" rating because people bought Just Cause 2 before Just Cause 1 and went "y doez dis old gaem not have as much grafiks as newr gayme ????" so don't let that dissuade you from playing it.

Just Cause is available for purchase on Steam.

I'm a little biased with Pacific Assault; it goes against all of the maxims of freedom of movement and non-linear gameplay I love, but it hits a lot of high notes that games these days just don't. Pacific Assault invests you in the game with a thorough World War II experience with traditional FPS gameplay, a cast of characters that grow on you, a multitude of weaponry, ammo conservation priorities, a lengthy campaign, and even the ability to fly a P-51 Mustang.

Medal of Honor - Pacific Assault can be purchased on Amazon.

A charming tower defense game with a very likable protagonist and one goal: kill as many orcs as you can and save the world. Enlist the help of Knights and Archers and set all sorts of devious traps to rack up the kills! The sequel has even more content and two player online co-op. Unfortunately, Robot Entertainment (the developers for Orcs Must Die) decided that the next step for the series would instead be yet another MOBA game and the series has ground to a halt.

The Orcs Must Die series can be purchased on Steam.

Another Doujin game that has made it to the west, Phantom Breaker is a cheesy side-scrolling beat 'em up with a pretty strong difficulty curve and a multitude of different classes to play. There's a lot of frame-by-frame memorization like in fighting games, so if you have any experience playing those, Phantom Breaker should be relatively easy for you to pick up. There are a lot of references to real-life Otaku phenomena and Akibahara itself.

I recommend reading (yes, I'm telling you to read something on your own for once in your life) Hiroki Azuma's Japan's Database Animals - Otaku and J.W. Szczepaniak's The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers if you want to understand the odds and ends of PB:BG and games like Akiba's Trip.

Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds is available for purchase on Steam.

A neat little game with some low-poly and textureless flair, the object of the game is in the title; players will chase after the sun in their solar-powered craft while dodging deaedly obstacles and energy-draining shadows for multiple levels. The game is overall an excellent blend of speed, music, and skill and has some nice end-game content. Those who don't really enjoy the pure thrill of going fast might not last long with Race the Sun.

Race the Sun can be purchased on Steam and Good old Games.

An intricate 4x Strategy game that encapsulates a larger field of space battle than Empire at War and covers a lot of intricate economic and diplomatic aspects of in-game faction relations. Plus you get to actually bombard, subjugate, and even exterminate planets. That's rad. Playing with friends makes the experience even better, but there's no barrier to the overall fun value of Sins of a Solar Empire if you play alone.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is available for purchase on Steam and Good old Games.

I wouldn't recommend playing Sonic and All-Stars alone unless you really like racing games, but Sonic and All-Stars is actually pretty system-friendly. The reality of it, however, is that you'll have to put a bit of time into playing alone if you and your friends want to play a multitude of maps since the host has to have access to all the possible maps in order for the other players to be able to play them.

It's a great go-to game to play with friends with all the crazy maps on it. There's also a surprising amount of depth to the game on top of basic kart racing games. Just don't get the DLC packs and don't ask yourself why Sonic needs a car and you'll be fine.

Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed can be purchased on Steam.

Space Hulk (2013) kind of sucked as a video game since it was a straight port of the board game. That meant that while it was great fun as a board game, the fun value of getting absolutely reamed by RNG vanished quickly. Players not used to actual dice rolls were put off by the game. Enter Space Hulk Ascension Edition, which made the game itself a lot more playable as a video game while still retaining the old feel of Space Hulk.

My suggestion is to be very careful with this game, however, as there were a lot of mishaps during development and the long-term support of Space Hulk and Ascension Edition, and the pricetag for Ascension Edition's DLC is unreasonably steep.

Space Hulk Ascension Edition can be purchased on Steam.

The only Star Wars strategy game that accurately captures the breadth and widespread appeal of space battles. There are land battles, too, but they're not as appealing despite some of the content within them. Skirmish battles allow single-player one-map land or space battles, and galactic campaigns allow for the creation of multiple sysem-subjugating fleets.

There are a few really neat mods, as well as some basic ones, but there is a caveat: Republic At War adds Republic/CIS factions but their difficulty ratings are absurd and funnel lots of credits to AI faster than you can ever acquire them. The rest of the game is still a worthy time sink.

Star Wars Empire at War can be purchased on Steam or on Good old Games.

If there was ever a game that managed to get a voxel artstyle right, I'd have to say that game would be Sublevel Zero. A well-written love letter to Descent, Sublevel Zero is akin to traditional rougelikes where players are tasked with navigating a labyrinth to the final level with a 6 DOF twist. There are a bunch of ship customizations available and weapon combinations to make as well as ship hull types, but just enough so that the game does not feel crowded by them.

Sublevel Zero is available for purchase on Steam and Good old Games.

It was what everyone originally wanted Minecraft to be like but ended up being even better. Dig deep and explore the deep caverns, slay massive monsters, build complex bases, fight off zombies, or just go fishing. It is very easy to become invested in playing Terraria, and even has a variety of multiplayer modes.

Many have tried to copy its gameplay and failed COUGHstarboundCOUGH, but Re-logic has announced a Terraria sidegame called Terraria: Overworld and plans for a sequel to the original game in the future.

Terraria is available for purchase on Steam and Good old Games.

A Permadeath FPS game that shares a lot of gameplay elements with The Binding of Isaac, Tower of Guns is a fast and wild shooter that puts your movement and deathmatch skills to the test, taking down entire rooms of guns and cannons all pointed at you.

It's a game with a fair amount of replay value, but it doesn't last forever. There's a variety of weapons and abilities to keep one entertained, but the player is limited to one overall weapon per run with "upgrades," so there are some limitations on overall variety.

Tower of Guns can be purchased on Steam or on Good old Games.

Borderlands has nothing on XII when it comes to cel-shaded comic book stylization. Play as 13 in an attempt to clear your name, save the world, and rectify your amnesia. XIII is packed to the brim with varied gameplay, intricate level design, and a powerful assortment of interesting and setting-appropriate weapons.

While obviously not a perfect game, and actually dated in some aspects, XIII has a lot of great gameplay elements that have vanished from modern design; XIII is another game worth playing regardless of the power of your computer.

XIII was available for purchase on Good old Games, but was forced to take it down from resale due to an expiration of the licensing between Ubisoft and the comic's author. A re-release is apparently in the works, but in order to play XIII you'll be forced to either buy it used on Amazon or pirate it.

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